Talensi Nabdam Area Programme
The goal of the Talensi Nabdam Area Programme is to improve the child rights environment of the Talensi Nabdam to the extent that all children’s basic rights are met. This programme addresses children’s rights, with a particular focus on the worst forms of child labour, at all levels of society from individual support and family capacity building to school’s capacity building and advocacy influencing local mind-sets and policy making.
This programme was inspired by the success of Operation Fresh Start’s resettlement methodology and prompted by a request from the International Labour Organisation to tackle the issue of child mining in the district as part of IPEC (International Programme for the Elimination of the worst forms of Child labour), for which it has become an example of best practice. It started in 2007 known as ‘Operation Sunlight’ and in 2010 in increased its scope to become the Talensi Nabdam Area Programme. As part of the expansion it took on part of the delivery AfriKids’ ‘New Beginnings’ and 'Education Bridge' programmes.
When the programme began a baseline survey showed that 650 children were working in the ‘galamsey’ mining communities of the Talensi Nabdam District. Galamsey is small scale gold mining and is practiced across the rural and isolated district. There is little multinational investment in the area but enough gold to attract local professional miners to establish small concessions and many desperate families to risk their lives in poorly dug mines and damage their health in surface mining. Children come to earn cash but, as well as being out of school to do so, they expose themselves to rock falls, mercury poisoning, sexual exploitation and respiratory problems caused by breathing in rock dust among other hazards. The concessions are poorly demarcated and policed and employment is not formally structured. The communities tend to be transitory meaning state service providers don’t have the same obligations as to settled communities. This complex environment is one in which too many children’s rights are compromised and it is incredibly difficult to unpick the causes of poverty and exclusion. The Talensi Nabdam Programme has been successful in doing so and in partnership with all sectors of the local community including children, traditional leaders and mine owners it is tackling the root causes of the children and their families’ poverty.
Some of the programme's major achievements have included:
Launch of the New Beginnings and Education Bridge Programmes in Talensi Nabdam, representing a major new investment in education provision and child rights in the district.
Final resettlement of the 155 children benefitting from Operation Sunlight.
Establishment of two schools in communities where there had been no government provision, in part thanks to lobbying by the Operation Sunlight team.
Successful resettlement of 30 displaced children through the New Beginnings One programme.
Establishment of child rights clubs with over 450 members who demonstrated a greater understanding of child rights.
Establishment of ten community child labour committees dedicated to improving children's access to school and freedom from the dangers of child labour.